When it comes to science fiction, you don’t want to get pets involved. Dogs, in particular, have the habit of getting eaten (or body-snatched) or they end up trying to eat you.
These two tropes are distinctly different for a reason. There’s dog as savior: Your best friend who’s just trying to tell you what’s up. The assumption that a dog would start barking once aliens roll up is a good one — dogs like barking at nothing, and people like to go on Reddit and asking if their dogs are actually barking at ghosts. While scientists say that the actual evidence for dogs having a sixth sense is slim, it is true that the average dog’s nose is tens of thousands of times as sensitive to odors than a human’s nose. That’s why they are so good at sensing and alerting their people to burglars and sure, maybe aliens too.
Here are some fictional dogs who are very good at alerting humans, but are not very good at dealing with aliens:
That dog in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial:
We’ll start with this dog because this dog has a pretty easy time at it as far as dogs in aliens movies go. This dog is pretty cute but is also a bad guard dog — he just sits there while E.T. goes in for the potato salad. But this dog is also a sensible dog; he knows Coors is terrible, and finally speaks up when E.T. goes to get a brewski.
E.T. loves to party and doesn’t listen to dog. Dog ends up getting to eat the potato salad, so the whole exchange works out for him.
That dog in The Darkest Hour:
This dog is just trying to tell the people of Moscow that an alien invasion is happening. However, this dog gets “disintegrated.”
That dog in Alien 3:
This clip of the 1992 Alien 3 starts off with the dog barking. This dog has every right to be concerned: there is an alien growing inside of it. At about 37 seconds in, shit goes down. Do not watch if sensitive to dog explosions.
That dog in Signs:
The family in Signs are not very good pet-owners: They definitely leave their dog outside of the house when they board it up mid-alien invasion. They also only realize this once the dog begins barking, which is a little late because the dog is very good at alerting and is just trying to tell everyone about the aliens. This happens at about an hour and thirty minutes into the 2002 movie:
That dog in Independence Day:
This dog is a hero dog. This dog jumps over a car while it explodes, landing in the arms of exotic dancer Jasmine Dubrow while an alien mothership blows up Los Angeles. Good job, dog.
Our other trope is the “dog is actually an alien” theme which is used advertising, film, comics — basically anytime an alien needs to be sneaky. This is in line with the “aliens are among us” conspiracy — what better way to secretly study us than be the animals we allow to watch us while we poop? Also, having a dog become a squirmy extraterrestrial hell monster is a pretty good way to up the scare factor: People really, really love dogs. They don’t love dogs who end up being aliens.
There are some lovable ones though, like:
That dog in Men in Black:
Agent F in Men in Black claps back at Will Smith calling out his looks with, “If you don’t like it you can kiss my furry little butt.” He can say that because he is an alien, but he also looks like a pug.
That dog in that the 2001 Budweiser Super Bowl commercial:
At first, the actions of this dog don’t make a lot of sense. He is clearly leaving a great party. About 7 seconds in he lets out a little growl and you realize that, uh-oh, here’s another dog about to get snatched up by aliens.
But then — oh crap! This dog is actually an alien and the only thing he learned on Earth was “Whassup.” 2001 — what a time to be alive.
Then there are the scary AF ones, like:
This mutant dog in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers:
I don’t understand anything about this dog. In Body Snatchers aliens called Pod people body snatch humans to slowly take over the planet. But there is also this mutant dog with a human face? Who trots out to the twang of a banjo? I guess just go with it.
Editor’s note: Sarah has not seen the seminal film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Fans know that the dog in question was asleep with his homeless master and was accidentally “snatched” and emerged from a pod as an unfortunate combination of both master and dog. The banjo twang remains unexplained.
This dog in The Thing:
This scene has a lot of grade A dogs — super noble looking huskies. Suddenly, one dog starts snarling and then suddenly another one of the dogs SPLITS OPEN to become “the Thing.” It’s really gnarly. Understandably, all the other dogs are barking like, “What the fuck is going on here?”
Kurt Russell is way too calm throughout this whole situation.
This dog in The Hidden:
This 1987 film with perennial paranormal detective Kyle MacLachlan is about an alien parasite who jumps around human bodies while on a crime spree in Los Angeles. There’s also a part where the alien decides to ditch a human body and go into the body of an unsuspecting dog named Roy:
Roy’s owner takes him back with him and now Alien-Roy gets to throw some shade at MacLachlan.
Don’t trust alien dogs.